“All Aboard The Chimp Train to Heatsville”
Serendipity is a wonderful thing.
Hello Chimpions of the world. This is the story of how we came to be.
This is my 43rd job since leaving school in 1990. I’ve done everything from silk screen printing to cooking, to running pubs, to rave dancing in the 1990’s. I’ve bottled wine and been a window cleaner, done warehouse work and stage lighting, but in 2015, when I was suffering from depression and had the tip of a kitchen knife in my chest in my hallway I knew I had reached a level of depression and needed serious help. My friend Paul kindly gave me some of his chilli seedlings and said, “Grow them mate, they may take your mind off things!”
A few months later my sister, Emily, asked me to make a “Man Vs Food” challenge sauce for a chicken wing eating competition she wanted to do at university for charity, so I made a sauce that was 40% chilli and called it “Mouth Fucka” (as that’s what it had just done to me!) I also thought that would be a great pull for the “Man Vs Food” challenge, with all the bravado at uni. This is now the “Original Hot sauce”.
But you can’t name a sauce MF and sell it to the masses, so the ‘Screaming Chimp’ brand was born when some friends asked us to visit them in Nerja, Spain and said bring ‘some of that sauce you’ve been talking about”. After tasting it, they said; “This is wicked! This is what you should do – make sauce! But you can’t call it that mate.”
I LOVED the idea, but I could not think of what to call it!
However, that serendipitous moment came along when I was teaching Kelly and Keith’s children how to blow on a blade of grass between two thumbs to make that strange noise, we all know! As I shouted, “That sounds like a screaming chimp.” That was when I knew SCREAMING CHIMP would be the name for my chilli sauce. Pineapple then Mango and Papaya were the next sauces to appear after the waiter at the Brazilian restaurant we were eating at told me that pineapple aids digestion and the Malaga area we were in grows mango etc
That afternoon we bought he domain names sat there at the dinner table and then trademarked screaming Chimp on our return, only to receive the certificate on my Birthday in Feb 2016.
We launched in June 2016.
In 2017 we gained two Great taste awards from the Guild of fine food, shipped to our first Chimpions in Australia and U.S.A, we listed on the Slimming World database of products and were stocked in Fenwick food hall, which is like the Harrods of the Northeast of England.
In 2018 we won 25% of the U.K Chilli Sauce Awards. Attended our 1st trade show, where we were picked up by Kew Gardens and were on the curriculum for Newcastle College as the advertising module of the media course there. Three of the students have since made a short documentary on Screaming Chimp, which they got a distinction for their dissertations.
I’ve been and told our story in prisons to help with stigma and let people know they aren’t on their own when it comes to depression and the struggles of starting a new business.
2018 also saw us making a bespoke sauce for an award winning music producer Zed Bias for his album release in this year.
In 2019 at The Speciality Fine Food Fayre, our Chimpotle sauce was used in the making of Bloody Mary cocktails by the Mixology Group at the bar which got lots of people interested in our products. We are also supplying Dough and Brew in Warwick, whom have been voted as England’s best pizza restaurant.
Sauces have been posted across the planet with many happy Chimpions worldwide. We sold over 30,000 bottles in our first 3 years all from our kitchen at home.
In October 2019 we outsourced production of the main seven sauces to The Chilli Mash co in Portsmouth so we can grow the brand and company yet still allow us produce the limited edition products at home.
2020 has been a strange time for everyone. The vast majority of our events were cancelled due to lockdown or bad weather, this pushed our sales online and we would like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who bought from the website and supported us, without our Chimpions we would not have survived the lockdown.
We were featured in the March 2020 edition of the BBC Good Food Magazine, have picked up stockists in Belgium, Netherlands and Australia, and are looking to export to other countries to further the growth of the company.
July 2020 saw baby Chimp, Albi Edward being born which has been the most amazing experience and steep learning curve! However he did take our focus away from Screaming Chimp temporarily, although we were quickly back on track.
We’d love our Chimps to swing on as many branches as they can the world over, so are now looking to grow our troop of Natural, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan friendly, Low Calorie Low sodium Screaming Chimp Chilli Sauces!
Just remember to #KeeponChimpin and #Screamifyouwannagohotter
I will say this though.
If it wasn’t for the support of Mrs Chimp, I’d not be here and neither would Chimp, so you all have Vicky to thank for unleashing Mr Chimp on the world hahahaha